In September to October 2017, I spent 6 days in the Republic of Malta as well as a Wacaday adventure to the Sovereign Military Order of Malta. But surprisingly to you, I wanted to backpack the country hardcore and so I set about visiting the country’s three main islands. I originally thought I’d spend my days eating too much food and drinking too much beer but Malta charmed my Ulster soul somewhat. The Republic of Malta consists of:
So after exploring Malta’s capital Valletta and the tri-city area (including Vittoriosa), I headed to Cirkewwa on the north west corner of Malta and boarded a ferry to Mgarr, on Gozo Island. Comino was to be the final island of the hat-trick I would backpack.
Gozo is Malta’s second biggest island and has some truly stunnigating sights and cool villages to check out. It was early on in my time in Malta, when I realised I didn’t set aside long enough to explore this country – there is a lot to see and do. So for that reason my days were jam doughnut packed. I would get up at 7 a.m. and backpack hardcore until sunset before checking out the best bars and restaurants by night. I only had one night in Gozo so I decided to stay in the capital Victoria (Rabat). This is central within the island and also has good bus routes to take you to the other cool parts of Gozo.
I stayed at the swanky 3 star Downtown Hotel and loved it, it punches as the best hotel on the island. This was my best room in my time in Malta and gave me my most peace and relaxation. I got checked in, was given a map and my room key and headed to Room 219. I was hugely surprised by this hotel, which in part helped reaffirm my once populable love affair with travel. As well as my stay at the British Hotel in Valletta and the Corner Hostel in Sliema but this seemed like a special time.
Here are the things I loved about my stay at the Downtown Hotel:
1.Huge, Comfortable Rooms
I expected a small and middle of the road room. I had travelled for so long that “4 star hotel” or “3 star hotel” meant nothing to me anymore, B and Bs were often superior to 5 stars. Hostels eclipsed almost every 4 star. I was normally underwhelmed by so called 3/4/5 star hotels on my journey. Hotels which promised so much and gave so little. A prime example being the horrendous Hotel Ushuaia in Argentina – one of the only hotels I ever wrote a bad review about – that hotel just made me angry! No tea or coffee in a 4 star when I paid $5,000 USD!!? Are you kidding?! No they were serious. #assholes Here, the welcome surprise:
And so the 3 star Downtown Hotel stepped in – excellent bed – very cosy. A huge room with a desk for Wi-Fi, free tea and coffee, tourist information, an excellent shower room, a mini-bar and a TV.
Breakfast was huge and free. I loved it. It included proper juice (orange, apple and tropical), a choice of cereals and bread. Real cappuccino or tea/coffee. And a “full English” style buffet.
3.TWO Bars – Downtown Bar and Lucky Jacks
The Downtown Hotel boasts TWO excellent bars so I thought let’s have a beer in both! By the lobby is the Hotel Residents bar which has beer on tap and in bottles, as well as a good wine menu, food and tea and coffee. This bar also shows live football on TV.
The second bar is a real treat – Lucky Jack’s is housed in the basement and does good international food and beers. It shows live sports on TV, has games such as pool and table football as well as housing a bowling alley at the back.
4.Swimming Pool on Top Floor
Overlooking an exceptional view of the island of Gozo, head to the top floor (4) for great views of the citadel and the city of Victoria – plus beyond views all over Gozo. On this floor there is also a tranquil outdoor swimming pool with sun loungers.
5.Prime Central Location
Admittedly Victoria (Rabat) is not a big city however you want to be somewhere near all the main sights and as the title suggests, the Downtown Hotel is situated in the city centre. It is on Triq L-Ewropa, the road adjacent to the main Triq Ir-Republika. It is less than ten minutes walk from the entrance to the famous Citadel (my number one backpacking sight in Victoria), near to a range of good bars, cafes and restaurants at Republic Square or St. George’s Square and only a bus ride away from the National Football Stadium.
I was actually quite surprised that an island as small as Gozo has a national football association. I backpacked the headquarters of the Gozo F.A., visited two supporters club bars and toured the entire national football stadium.
Overall a great city, a superb island and a surprisingly good hotel. Don’t even consider staying anywhere else when you backpack Gozo!
Victoria, VCT 2732
|T: +356 2210 8000
F: +356 2156 6376
New words explained:
Stunnigating – Stunning in a way that amazes the eyes in a sentimental a rare moment that will not be repeatable.
Populable – Something that was once a popular part of your life and faded away a bit.